Toshiba Corp developed a BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) SoC (system-on-chip) whose current consumption is 50% that of its previous product.

It can be powered by a small battery such as a coin-shaped battery and is targeted at IoT devices including smartwatches and activity meters.

The newly-developed SoC complies with BLE Ver 4.2. By developing multiple technologies to lower current consumption for the RF part of the SoC, Toshiba reduced current consumption to 3.2mA (power supply voltage: 3V) at the time of receiving signals and 3.5mA (power supply voltage: 3V, output: 0dBm) at the time of transmitting signals. They are equivalent to about 50% of the current consumption of the company's "TC35667FTG" BLE SoC in operation, realizing a long battery life.

Current consumption cut by 50% or more, compared with the previous product (image courtesy of Toshiba)

In addition to the RF part, Toshiba embedded a digital circuit and RF matching circuit in the new SoC. As a result, the number of external parts was reduced from 19 to 7, contributing to the size reduction of IoT devices, the company said.

Toshiba will apply the newly-developed low-current-consumption technologies to BLE products that it is planning to mass-produce in December 2016. The engineering samples of the BLE products will become available in October 2016. Also, the company will announce the details of the technologies at A-SSCC 2016 (Asian Solid-State Circuits Conference 2016), an international conference on semiconductor circuit technologies in Toyama Prefecture Japan, Nov 8, 2016.

3 technologies developed to lower current consumption

This time, Toshiba mainly developed three low-current-consumption technologies for the RF part. They are (1) a signal reception architecture suited for low current consumption, (2) a power supply system with a high conversion efficiency and (3) a low-current-consumption RF circuit.

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